World Assemblies

Every 5-6 years, Religions for Peace convenes a World Assembly of senior-most religious leaders for the purpose of forging a deep moral consensus on contemporary challenges, electing a new World Council, and advancing multi-religious action across and beyond the Religions for Peace network. The Religions for Peace World Assemblies are global in scale, multi-stakeholder in composition, and action-oriented. The Assemblies convene senior religious leaders from around the world who are strategically positioned to advance multi-religious action for the common good. They also include representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, charitable foundations, and other civil society sectors and provide concrete opportunities to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships for the common good.

The Assembly is itself a time of multi-religious action. Religious leaders from zones of conflict will work together to advance peace and reconciliation. National inter-religious councils (IRCs) and groups will exchange best practices to become better equipped to take concrete action on the ground in their own countries. The World Assembly affords a safe environment that provides a unique opportunity for religious leaders to engage in conflict mediation sessions among religious leaders. Previous Assemblies have resulted in highly positive steps forward in the Balkans, West Africa, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. 

2013 More than six hundred religious leaders and people of faith convened in Vienna, Austria as the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace to commit to common action, as a foundation for affirming the imperative of “welcoming the other” as the heart of our multi-religious vision of Peace.

2006 The key aspect of the Kyoto Assembly was the notion of “shared security” in which all sectors of society acknowledge common vulnerabilities and assume collective responsibility to address them. Representatives from conflict-ridden regions, such as Iraq, Israel/Palestine, North and South Korea, Sudan, and Sri Lanka met privately and worked on strategies to address sectarian conflict.   

1999 The Amman Assembly, the first in an Islamic country, was hosted by His Majesty King Abdullah and His Royal Highness Prince Hassan and attended by prominent religious leaders including Sheikh Tantawi of Al-Azhar in Egypt, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. George Carey, and His Eminence Cardinal Arinze of the Vatican.

1994 The opening ceremony was hosted by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in the Synod Hall at the Vatican. Acknowledging 24 years of Religions for Peace’s leadership in advancing multi-religious cooperation, Pope John Paul II called “all religious leaders to cooperate to promote human life and its dignity.” Following the Assembly, Religions for Peace facilitated the formation of the Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an instrument for reconciliation.

1989 The Melbourne Assembly was held toward the end of the cold war and contributed to the consolidation of a coalition of religious communities for collaborative action for peace and development. The presence of Aborigine in the Assembly was a testimony of religious communities’ renewed commitment to embracing a pluralistic world. Religions for Peace’s global partnership with UNICEF has developed to place religious communities at the forefront of advocacy and action for children.

1984 The Nairobi Assembly was the first representative multi-religious conference in Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu presented the reality of apartheid and stressed the role of religious communities in overcoming the challenges. Because of the Nairobi Assembly, the multi-religious project on assisting refugees and internally displaced people was launched. The Religions for Peace International Youth Committee was formed to mobilize religious youth in peace building.  

1979 The Princeton Assembly further defined Religions for Peace’s mission as an action-oriented international multi-religious organization. Assembly commissions developed action plans aimed at establishing peace, promoting human rights, and resolving conflicts. For the first time, Chinese religious leaders participated in the Assembly. The Assembly delegates were also received by President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

1974 The Leuven Assembly was the first-ever representative multi-religious gathering held in Europe. Religions for Peace’s Assembly focused on working together by forming commissions to develop concrete action programs on disarmament, human rights, development, and the environment. The Assembly also proposed the idea of launching the first regional multi-religious body, the Asia Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP)

1970 Amidst the worsening war in Vietnam, religious leaders gathered to discuss the role of religious communities in addressing issues of disarmament, human rights, and development. The world’s religious leaders called for an immediate ceasefire in Vietnam. A Religions for Peace fact-finding mission was sent to Vietnam immediately after the Assembly. The participants resolved to establish a permanent international multi-religious structure with its headquarters in New York.